x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Commonwealth Games officals indicted, another steps down

The treasurer of the Organising Committee steps down following reports of his son's firm benefiting from his office.

Suresh Kalmadi, the Commonwealth Organising Committee chairman, has formed a three-member panel to investigate the charges against the officials.
Suresh Kalmadi, the Commonwealth Organising Committee chairman, has formed a three-member panel to investigate the charges against the officials.

The treasurer of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CWGOC) stepped down following allegations that he gave a contract to his son's firm while three other officials have been suspended in another development. In the latest setback to hit the event, Anil Khanna, who is also the executive secretary general of All India Tennis Association, had resigned in the wake of allegations that his son's firm had been contracted to lay 14 synthetic surfaces at RK Khanna Tennis Stadium. Khanna has denied the report. "I joined the organising committee in January 2010 ... and by that time the contract was done, so I don't have a conflict of interest in the deal as it was over by December 2009," Khanna said.

Khanna said he been thinking for sometime about parting ways with the organising committee when the corruption allegations against him surfaced. He also said that his family was not happy when he joined the organising committee. "My conscience is clear," Khanna said. "I don't want to be seen as somebody associated with corruption or financial [irregularities]." Corruption allegations have dogged the Commonwealth Games, which will take place October 3-14 in New Delhi. A probe panel has indicted three senior officials for irregularities during last year's Queen's Baton Relay in London. Joint Director Generals TS Darbari and M Jeyachandran, and Deputy Director General Sanjay Mahindroo were suspended following their report. The CWGOC chairman Suresh Kalmadi set up the three-member panel headed by chief executive Jarnail Singh to look into the charges after India's Sports Ministry asked him to remove the officials involved.

The Indian government's anti-corruption agency has identified 16 projects where financial irregularities are suspected. Earlier this week, Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell had pressed for a full report on the allegations. "It is something which is very disturbing and we do feel that the matter needs urgent attention by Indian authorities," Fennell told local television NDTV. The corruption allegations are just one of a myriad of problems facing the event. Construction delays have led to price rigging and substandard equipment and material being used and safety checks compromised in race against time to compensate for construction delays for the biggest sporting event in the country since Asian Games. * Agencies